Andean Express (includes hotels)

4 days 3 nights

Customizable tour? Yes

Cusco, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu

Immerse yourself in the heart of ancient Peru with our ‘Essential Cusco and Machu Picchu’ tour. This carefully curated itinerary condenses the highlights into a few unforgettable days. From exploring Cusco’s historic charm to navigating the enigmatic Sacred Valley, culminating in a scenic train journey to the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu, this adventure encapsulates the best of Peru’s cultural and natural wonders in a compact timeframe

Included
All necessary land transport.
All tours and transfers with English-speaking tour guide.
Train ticket Cusco – Machu Picchu - Cusco
Bus tickets Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes
Entrance fees for all tours and excursions, parks, and museums.
Accommodation at selected hotel with private bathroom (double room basis).
Single supplement includes single room where available.
Meals according to itinerary.
Not included
Drinks.
Tips to the staff and tips to guides.
Travel insurance.
Meals not included in the program.
What to bring
Passport
Daypack
Warm clothes
Rain jacket
Long sleeved shirts (cotton)
Shorts for walking (optional)
Cap and sunglasses
Sunblock
Binoculars (for birdwatching enthusiasts)

Tour plan

Day 1
Lima - Cusco

Flight to Cusco.

Transfer from airport to hotel. After a morning free to acclimatize.

Cusco has been inhabited since pre-Inca times by a succession of cultures. The Quechua-speaking Inca ethnic group came to prominence in the early 15th century and began its imperial expansionist phase under the great Inca leader Pachacutec, around 1438. As the Inca empire expanded, their capital was enlarged to reflect their growing might. Great temples and palaces were erected, and the vestiges of these magnificent edifices can be seen to this day, as they form the basis for the splendid colonial-era structures built by the Spanish from the third decade of the 16th century onwards. Cusco offers endless attractions, the architecture of the historic center of the city, with its Spanish colonial mansions and churches built over the remains of imposing Inca structures.

Cusco city tour and Sacsayhuaman ruins – Half Day

Explore historic Cusco and its major attractions during a half-day excursion.

We will pick you up from your hotel to begin your half-day tour of the major attractions in the city of Cusco and the hills above the city’s historic center. In addition to the Colonial-era Cusco cathedral and the Inca Temple of the Sun, or Qorikancha, the Cusco city tour includes the enormous Inca temple complex of Sacsayhuaman, located at the top of the hill overlooking Cusco’s main square, as well as other archaeological sites in the hills around the city.

Your tour will begin with the Inca Temple of the Sun, or Qorikancha, where our expert guide will explain the history of this major Inca religious site. From here, we will continue to the imposing colonial-era cathedral, which was built between 1560 and 1654 on the site of the palace of the Inca Wiracocha. It is a magnificent example of European art made by the indigenous population. Its main altar is completely covered in silver, and the church contains many fine paintings from the Cusco School of religious art.

Sacsayhuaman four ruins

From the cathedral we will leave the city by bus to visit water shrine of Tambomachay, in the hills outside Cusco, escorted by your guide you will also visit the Inca fortified complex known as Puca Pucara (“red fort,” in Quechua). From here, you will continue through this picturesque landscape in the hills above the imperial city to the Inca temple of Qenqo(“zigzag,” in Quechua), a limestone outcrop carved into a subterranean altar associated with worship of the Inca earth goddess, or Pachamama.

And finally, to the vast fortified temple complex of Sacsayhuaman, including the great plaza and its adjacent three massive terrace walls. The stones used in the construction of these terraces are among the largest used in any building in pre-Hispanic America and display a precision that is unmatched in the Americas. The largest of the three walls is about 400 meters in length. These ramparts are about 6 meters tall and estimated volume of stone employed at the site is over 6000 cubic meters. Estimates for the weight of the largest limestone block vary from 128 tons to around 200 tons.

Traveling distance:

16 kilometers by car/ 9.95 miles (round trip)

Visiting time: 4 hours

Altitudes:

  • Cusco 3,400 meters / 11,159 feet.
  • Sacsayhuaman 3,650 meters / 11,975 feet.
  • Tambomachay 3,700 meters / 12,139 feet.
Day 2
SACRED VALLEY; Pisaq typical Market – Ollantaytambo - Chinchero. Full Day

Explore Cusco’s Sacred Valley of the Incas on this full-day excursion.

Beginning in the city of Cusco, this full-day tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas includes visits to the remarkable Inca sites of Pisaq, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero, with plenty of time to enjoy and photograph the spectacular scenery of the Sacred Valley and surrounding peaks. You will be escorted by an experienced and knowledgeable guide as you walk the narrow streets of the Inca village of Ollantaytambo and wander through the handcraft market in the village square at Pisaq.

Leaving behind the city of Cusco, our bus will take us to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After crossing the high plains, the road descends towards the picturesque valley town of Pisac (Pisaq in quechua language), on the banks of the sacred Urubamba River.

Every Sunday, Thursday and Tuesday, the sleepy town of Pisac comes alive when indigenous Quechua communities from the surrounding highlands come to Pisac to sell their produce and stock up on supplies for the week.

The Pisaq typical market of souvenirs (that is performed in a daily basis) is one of the most famous markets in the Cusco region. A large section of the market is dedicated to tourist-oriented souvenir stalls where you can find weavings, alpaca products, ponchos, ceramics, jewelry, hats, Andean instruments and a whole range of other gifts and souvenirs to take home with you. The handcraft market is open every day from 9 am to 4.30 pm and is a good place to pick up some gifts all in the one place.

Later we will drive to the quiet town of Urubamba for lunch.

After an excellent meal in Urubamba, it will be time to make the 30-minute drive through the Sacred Valley to the village of Ollantaytambo. Here, where the Sacred Valley narrows, the Incas created a major ceremonial and administrative center around a massive temple that was dedicated to their pantheon of gods. It is common to see local people wandering the streets of Ollantaytambo in their typical dress, largely unchanged for more than four hundred years.

After visiting the village and temple of Ollantaytambo, it will be time to visit Chinchero on route to Cusco.

Chinchero is a typical village, located on the patchwork of Andean crops which is the plain of Chinchero, at an altitude of 3,762 meters / 12,342 feet. The native Indian market is open on Sundays, when local people wearing the traditional dress of their respective communities, often unchanged since the 17th century, come from outlying villages to trade their goods. Aside from Sunday there is a daily market traders offer handcrafts, including textiles and jewelry, alpaca products, ponchos, ceramics, etc.

The village is also an important archaeological site. One side of the main square is bordered by a massive stone Inca wall featuring a series of niches, and beyond the village several outlying constructions and the remains of Inca terracing can also be visited. The Inca remains of Chinchero are attributed to the reign of Inca Tupac Yupanqui, the son of Pachacuteq, who may have used the village as a kind of country retreat.

Return to Cusco, where you will be escorted to your hotel.

Traveling distance: 189 kilometers by car/ 117 miles (round trip)

Traveling – visiting time: 9 hours

Altitudes:

  • Cusco 3,400 meters / 11,159 feet.
  • Pisaq market 2,972 meters / 9,750 feet.
  • Ollantaytambo 2,792 meters / 9,160 feet.
  • Chinchero 3,762 meters / 12,342 feet
Day 3
Machu Picchu

Traveling by train from the Sacred Valley of the Incas to the ruins of the Inca city of Machu Picchu is an experience no visitor to Peru should miss. After leaving behind the Sacred Valley, your train will follow the course of the Urubamba River as it carves a narrow gorge between cliffs that are crowned with dense tropical cloud forests, filled with endemic flora and fauna and home to many Inca archaeological sites.

Visit Machu Picchu, the most iconic travel destination in South America!!!

We will take a bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu (30 minutes). Located at the top of a steep, forested hill overlooking the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu was hidden by thick cloud forest vegetation for centuries until the American explorer Hiram Bingham began to clear the site after its rediscovery in 1911.

Today the city has been extensively restored, creating an unforgettable sight for visitors like you who arrive from all over the world. Our experienced and knowledgeable guide will escort you as you visit the temples and palaces of Machu Picchu and explore its residential and agricultural areas.

Other options (not included in the tour, but we can organize if you want)

include scaling the mountain known as Huayna Picchu or visiting the Temple of the Moon or Machu Picchu Mountain (subject to advance booking), before taking a short bus ride back to the small town of Aguas Calientes for the return trip to Cusco.

You will travel by train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy station, where our private vehicle will be waiting to take you the rest of the way to Cusco. Upon arrival in Cusco, you will be met at the station and escorted to your hotel.

Travel by Train:

Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes -: 112 km. / 69 miles

Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo – Cusco 112 kilometres / 69 miles

Travelling and visiting time: All day, 12-13 hours

Altitude:

  • Aguas Calientes: 2,070 meters / 6,791 feet.
  • Machu Picchu: 2,460 meters / 8,071 feet.
Day 4
Cusco - Lima

Transfer to the airport,

Flight to Lima

Connecting flight back home

FAQ

What is the best thing to do in cases of altitude sickness?

Our guides are trained to assist travelers in the event of acute mountain sickness. They can provide an emergency oxygen bottle and first aid kit; however, travelers should carry their own personal medication, such as treatment for headaches or stomach ailments.

Will I be met at the airport?

Yes, if your itinerary includes transfers or you have asked us to pick you up, our staff will be at the airport to meet you and transfer you to your hotel. We can also provide airport transfers at the end of your itinerary.

How can I prepare for high altitude?

The best way to deal with high altitude is by allowing the body time to adapt. We recommend at least one day at altitude with minimal activity, to allow the organism to begin to adjust. During your first days at altitude, your metabolism will be working hard to produce more red blood cells and carry the limited oxygen available around your body more efficiently. Be sure to eat lightly during your first few days at altitude, drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol.

Do I need a visa to enter Peru?

Travelers with a US, UK, Canadian, Australian or New Zealand passport do not need a visa to enter Peru for tourism or business for up to 90 days. For those traveling on another passport, information on visa requirements for Peru is available at http://www.projectvisa.com/visainformation/Peru

Should I travel with cash or cards?

Cash is easy to exchange for local currency, and at popular tourism destinations US dollars are readily accepted. If you plan to use cards, inform your bank before departure that you will be using your cards overseas. Current exchange rates can be checked at https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/

Are ATMs available?

ATMs are available at most of the destinations included in our itineraries, providing both US dollars and local Peruvian currency. The most secure ATMs are those located in banks, hotels, restaurants or stores.

What about payment, do I need to make a deposit?

After we have confirmed your booking you will need to pay a deposit, the amount of which will depend on the tour you book and the size of your party. The remaining balance must be paid at our office in Cusco at least 2 days prior to the scheduled departure date, before 19:30. Payment should be made in US dollars or local currency. When we confirm your booking, we will send you more details about how to complete payment.

If I cancel my trip, can I get a refund?

Refund are available up to a certain date, after which only a percentage of the amount paid can be refunded. Please ask us for our booking conditions at time of booking.

Is my passport valid?

We recommend that visitors to Peru travel on a passport valid for at least six months after the scheduled end of their trip.

Do I need vaccinations?

No vaccinations are mandatory for entering Peru. However, most international travelers choose to vaccinate themselves against hepatitis A, typhoid fever and tetanus. If you are planning to travel to the Amazon basin, you should consider malaria prophylaxis and yellow fever vaccination. Check with your physician or local clinic before traveling.

Who will guide me?

At Andean Adventures Peru, we work with experienced local guides, all of whom have graduated in tourism after a 5-year course at a Peruvian university. All our guides speak English and Spanish and are knowledgeable, patient and informative. Guides in other major languages are also available upon request.

What kind of weather should I expect?

Weather in Peru varies according to the geographic region you are traveling in, and also altitude. In the Andean highlands (Cusco, Arequipa and Lake Titicaca), where UV levels are high, daytime temperatures peak at between 15 to 21 Celsius (60 and 70 Fahrenheit), while nighttime temperatures range from 1.1 to 5.5 Celsius (30 to 42 Fahrenheit). During the dry season (from April to October), the weather tends to be clear and sunny. The rainiest months are January and February. In the Amazon basin the hottest and most humid months occur during the wet season (from December to April), with the rainiest months being January and February, although of course it can rain at any time in tropical and subtropical forests. Peru’s desert coast is warm all year round, although Lima and the surrounding coastal belt are usually overcast outside the summer months (January to March). There is almost no rainfall in Lima, but humidity is high. Machu Picchu is situated at around 2400 meters (7875 feet) above sea level in an area of subtropical cloud forest. Daytime temperatures range from 26 to 29 Celsius (80 to 85 Fahrenheit). There is the chance of rain at any time of year. The driest months are May to September.

From

USD 699

USD 859

4 days 3 nights

Customizable tour? Yes

All elements of these itineraries can be tailored to your interests and travel style.

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People are saying

Steven Broadbent
United Kingdom

Thank you, you made the Incas come to life for us. Overall, we would heartily recommend Andean Adventures. Thank you.

Roy Cox
United Kingdom

Excellent and very patient when setting up the trip. Our guide was also superb with genuine enthusiasm for Inca culture and history. He also gave us our own space to do things we wanted and this made the whole tour very enjoyable.

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Andean Express (includes hotels)

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    Andean Express (includes hotels)

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      From

      USD 699

      USD 859